Our sovereign God is so much more than ‘the boss’ of all things. His sovereignty extends to His ability, possibility, and purpose, but never overrides our free will. Rather, His infinite patience waits for us to make the right choice and be the clay in His sovereign hands.
I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. (Job 42:2)
I constantly pray that God will allow me to make up for wasted time. Yes, it’s a pretty crazy prayer, given that I’m no longer a spring chicken. I know it means cramming so much into a shorter time. But that’s okay. I don’t want to leave this life with His purposes for me unfinished. Besides, I spent – wasted – an awful lot of time trying to do my own thing. It took me a long time to fully comprehend that He is a sovereign God. Thankfully, He is also patient, though I have no doubt I tried that patience to the limit. I also know that I’m not alone in this. That’s why part of my ministry is to encourage others to grab hold of the purposes of God. Avoiding them only results in taking the long way round back to ‘begin’ without collecting a bonus along the way.
A sovereign God of limitless ability and possibility.
We often think of His sovereignty as meaning only that He’s the boss. But His ability and possibility also define Him as a sovereign God. To be sovereign means that He’s essentially in control of everything. He decides and that’s that. But this includes a limitless ability to achieve anything He desires. His supernatural power is as sovereign as He is. It is the power that created the universe, sustains the universe, and effects His will in the universe. God’s sovereign ability allows Him to overcome the world and everything in it. Also, it enables Him to bend or break any ‘natural law’ He may have put in place. There is absolutely no limit or restriction on what God is able to do if He wills it. This is a pretty awesome thought, especially when we place it alongside the matter of free will.
The other limitless sovereignty of God is that all things are possible with Him. The possibilities contained in God have no measure. They are infinite, just as He is. No matter what we may think or imagine, God is able to exceed that beyond our comprehension. We need only look at the universe to see the truth of this. When we try to understand the idea of a sovereign God, we must take this into account. We are limited by our capability, our ability, our intellect, and the natural laws of the world we live in. God has none of these restrictions. His possibilities are as vast as He is. Not only that, but they are possibilities which contain His sovereign power. All He has to do is speak His possibilities to bring them into perfect being. This is the God who ‘can do’ everything.
A sovereign God of sovereign purposes.
When we look at sovereign God from this new perspective, we understand His purposes better. We begin to see that what He purposes must come to pass, one way or the other. His sovereignty can do no less. Job takes us simply but eloquently from the can do to the will do. It’s a lesson I dearly wished I’d learned a long, long time ago. The simple truth is that if God purposes something, it must and will happen. He’s sovereign. Nothing we do or say can withhold them from Him. His purposes are eternal, absolute and not negotiable. These truths don’t only apply to the universe. They apply to us as His people and His children. For our own sakes, we should grasp the reality that His sovereign purposes will be worked out in and through us. He is Lord, and it’s not our will but His.
But we need to take this a little further. The Bible tells us very clearly that we were created for specific purpose. We aren’t random or created without purpose. God had very specific purposes in mind for each of us when He created us. These were part of Him from the very foundation of the world. They are the will of the sovereign God. Our first ‘general’ purpose is to reveal Him and His glory to the world. That’s a universal purpose for every believer. But we also have a specific purpose in Him. He created good works for us to walk in. They are pre-planned and pre-purposed, and we can do nothing to change that. We have neither the right nor the ability to withhold from our sovereign God what He has purposed in and through us. We are nothing more than the clay in the Potter’s hand.
Sovereign God and our free will.
This may, on the surface, seem like a contradiction of terms. It’s absolutely true that He is a sovereign God and His purposes will always be fulfilled. But it’s equally true that He gives – and respects – free will. Each of us has the right to choose what we will do. A lot of the time, we choose our purposes rather than His. This is primarily because we haven’t fully grasped His sovereignty and what it means. He’ll respect our free will and allow us to choose, right or wrong. But the consequences of that choice are on us. That’s the downside of free will. We’re quite happy for God to be sovereign when it comes to God handing out blessings or working miracles. We’ll wave the free will flag but still expect Him to step up when our choices land us in hot water – as they often do.
But this is where God’s patience comes in. He simply steps back and lets us get on with. But to be a sovereign God also means to be an omniscient God. He knows exactly how things will work out. So He waits and allows us to muddle through until we somehow find ourselves back at the point of choice again. It’s kind of the same principle as Groundhog Day. Ultimately, through His teaching, guidance, love, and grace – and a good chunk of mercy – we eventually make the right choice. Our free will is satisfied, and His purposes are fulfilled. He’ll never force us, bully us, or manipulate us. That is not what sovereign God means. He may say ‘what took you so long?’ as He graciously moves us forward. But while His purposes cannot be withheld, He also desires that we work willingly with Him to achieve them.
Sovereign God is our assurance of faith.
It’s comforting to know that He is a sovereign God. It means He is able to accomplish anything and that His anything has particular purpose. None of us know what our future in Him holds. There is an excitement and challenge in His purposes we cannot find in the world. The possibilities are endless, and our God is able to accomplish them. Not only that, but we can have the absolute faith that He will accomplish them. His sovereignty is our rock, our strength, and our shield. We can rely on Him in and for everything. Yes, there will be times when we make wrong choices, but His sovereignty will bring us back to make the right one. He could easily command and compel, and we would have to obey. But what joy there is in drawing alongside a sovereign God and working with Him to accomplish the impossible.
Gracious Father, thank You for Your patience and infinite gentleness. We thank You, also, for the remarkable privilege of free will and ask Your forgiveness for those times we have misused it. You alone are sovereign, and our desire is to work with You to achieve Your purposes. Make us teachable and reachable. Guide us into the right choices so that You purposes will be quickly fulfilled and Your sovereign glory manifest in our lives.